Junior Horse to Watch for 2011: Carters Hickory and Mason Penland

Combine a tough youth competitor and a top-of-the-line 4-year-old, and you’ve got a recipe for something great. Mason Penland has been a dominating force in youth and open competition in Pennsylvania, and his newest mount, Carters Hickory, known as Viper, will be another great addition to his trailerload of top horses. Get to know Mason and Viper here first, before they hit it big for 2011.

What are your horse’s name, age, and bloodlines?

Mason and Viper in their indoor arena at Penland Farms


Carters Hickory aka Viper. He just turned 4 as of Jan. 1st and is primarily Doc Bar bloodlines.

How did you come to own him?

My mom bought Viper as a coming 2 year old for me to train because I wanted a project. He was living in Texas. He had an older brother that we liked who was running in Texas. So we bought Viper and his younger brother, Peanut too.

Did you do all of his training?

He was sent to a trainer to get him started. I’ve done all the barrel training and hauling with him myself.

At what age was he started?

Right when he turned 3, I got him going.

How soon after starting him did you start working on the pattern?

Enjoying a ride in the frozen tundra that is Western Pennsylvania.


He had about three months of basic training before I started him on the pattern. I like to have them knowing just about everything before I show them a can. I have them bending at the poll, side-passing, backing up, walk, trot, canter, and correct leads first. They have to have good forward motion and be very willing and cooperative before you can even think about working on the pattern.

What big problems did you face in his training?

Really none. He seems to pick up everything very fast. He responds to what I’m showing him very well.

What is his best attribute?

His personality. He has “likability.” Viper makes everything easy. Well-tempered and easy to handle.

Which barrel is his best?

I think right now his 2nd barrel is his best. Viper really likes to get down and dig around the 2nd barrel right now.

What bit do you run him in?

I’m using an O-ring on him right now.

What headgear (martingale, tiedown, etc.), if any, do you run him in?

The only reason I’m using a tie-down right now is because I like all my horses to get used to a tie-down. I am using one right now but it is quite loose.

What exercise has helped him most in training?

Lots of circles, figure eights, flying lead changes and roll backs. I do some exercises with him and the poles at home too. I like a lot of forward movement with my barrel horses. I also trail rode him last summer.

How many days a week do you ride him?

Well in PA, there is a difference between winter-time riding and summer-time riding. This past summer, I rode him probably 6 days a week. This winter, I’ve probably averaged riding him 3 days a week. I sure am glad I have an indoor arena to keep my horses fitted up!

How many days a week do you work the pattern or school barrels of any sort?

For horses that I am training, I probably work on parts of the pattern every other day. Once or twice through the pattern but I keep it slow. I only work on the pattern if they are having a problem. I don’t want to blow a horse’s mind. I want to keep them focused and listening to me. For a horse to do something right fast, they have to do it right slow.

Do you do anything else, other than barrel racing, with him?

I like to trail ride around the farm, through the pastures.

What are your goals for this year?

To finish in the 1D of the Junior Horse class.

Of the pens you run in Penn-Ohio, which is your best pen with this horse?

So far, I’ve only done time-only’s with Viper. I haven’t got a favorite pen with this horse yet. I just hauled him a lot last year. Rode him around and let him relax at the shows.

What other horses have you had success on?

Mr Two Treys, Jolena Rey Smooth, and I Run For Kisses are my other horses. I’ve won a lot of races with all three of them.

Catch Mason and Jolena Rey Smooth – aka Jory – in this video from 2008.


6 thoughts on “Junior Horse to Watch for 2011: Carters Hickory and Mason Penland

  1. I’m so excited and can’t wait to hear the progress on this horse. I’m glad both of my babies went to a great home. It definitely eases the pain of selling when they go on to be awesome!!!

  2. Colts are a scratch-off lottery ticket but it sure is fun to play! I’m going to enjoy watching you two develop as a team this year. Good luck. 🙂

  3. Pingback: “Junior Horse to Watch” Makes a Splash | The Barrel Racing Blog

  4. Pingback: Junior Horse to Watch Update: Big Weekend for Carters Hickory and Mason Penland | The Barrel Racing Blog

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